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I thought of NH Big Bob when I saw this...RIP big guy.

WEEKEND EDITION: Red Sox vs Yankees this afternoon on NESN if the bands are dead....Robert Kraft allegedly got caught dipping his wick in a massage parlor. Now the Patriot's haters have Pussy-Gate to bitch about... If true, why would a billionaire go to a strip mall whore house? I guess his twenty year old girlfriend can't keep up with the old stud and he had a hankering for a little Chinese to go......I heard Leo from Berwick, Maine on 3928, the Bull Net Friendly Bunch, talking about making "pressure cooker" baked beans. I looked it up and gave it a whirl, damn, they are good and done in less than one hour. Thanks Leo!.....50mph winds predicted for Monday, good test for the antennas....

Foundations of Amateur Radio #194

More WSPR adventures

Previously I've spoken about the joy of making something out of not much. On that theme I've covered WSPR, the Weak Signal Propagation Reporter, a mechanism to use a modest station to report signals received, which is something any suitably interested person can participate in, no license required.

For a time I had my radio, a Yaesu FT-857D connected to a Windows XP notebook running WSJT-X, a piece of software that has the ability to set the frequency of your radio and then listen to what the radio is hearing, attempt to decode it and then report on what was heard.

The beauty of this system is that you're using your own station to report signals heard, that is, your own antenna, your own coax, your own radio. Essentially you can use it to see what can be heard from around the world at your station.

I had this running for a while, but the set-up was less than satisfactory, because I use the same radio and antenna to run weekly nets, the computer was running Windows XP and running out of disk space since WSJT-X has the option to save all the audio heard, which was clogging up my drive.

It also meant that I was required to remember that I needed to reset the volume of the radio, set the squelch just so, disconnect and more importantly reconnect the antenna when there were storms about and a few other annoyances that became just a little too much for it to be fun.

After doing this for a couple of months I just gave up and put it into the too-hard basket.

The other day I started afresh.

I started with a Raspberry Pi. It's a single board computer, about the size of a credit card, that comes in at about $30, is powered off a USB adaptor and runs Linux. Since I've been using Linux for around 20 years now, it seemed like a natural fit. I managed to obtain an RTL-SDR dongle which if you're not familiar, is essentially a USB device that you can use to listen to RF frequencies. Without going too deep, these gadgets started life as USB DVB-T and FM receivers, you know the USB dongles that you can plug into your computer to watch free-to-air TV or listen to FM radio.

Back in March of 2010 Eric Fry got curious about figuring out if he could make a Linux version for one of the dongles work by reverse engineering the communication between the dongle and the supplied Windows software. In 2012 Antti Palosaari built on that and published his findings on the linux-media mailing list. Things exploded from there.

So, an RTL-SDR dongle, connected to a Raspberry Pi, running Linux.

At this point it would be great if I could report success and show and tell everything I've learnt, but then for that to happen I would need to actually have had success and I'm not quite there yet.

I managed to decode one, count 'em, one, WSPR packet on 6m, once.

Of course I couldn't help myself and started to improve things and since then I've not heard anything.

I can tell you that there is plenty of documentation online about the subject, and I'll be adding my version of that once I've got mine up and running.

There's a few things to work on, for example, listening on 6m is all fine and well, as long as there are 6m stations within hearing that are on and transmitting. Turns out that the station that I heard once last weekend has been switched off for a week. I've just changed bands, to see if that improves things, but only time will tell. I have also been using a mechanism to change bands automatically every 15 minutes, but without any spots I'm not sure if my set-up is working or not and I've just been unlucky not to hear anything.

The challenges continue, but then I suppose that's why I'm here in the first place. I will add that a problem shared is a problem halved. I mentioned my challenge to a local amateur who sprang into action and set-up a WSPR beacon, just so I can test against it. I'll let you know how I go, or you can monitor for my spots on the WSPR website and celebrate when you see a spot with my callsign on it, because I will be, celebrating that is.

As an aside, it continues to surprise me that this hobby has its fingers in so many different pies and my chosen profession of IT Geek is just another aspect of amateur radio.

Amateur Radio Newsline Report - a rehash of last weeks news


PAUL/ANCHOR: As we begin this week's report, we find ourselves back on the ocean journey of a record-setting Canadian YL who is sailing around the world with her amateur radio. Graham Kemp VK4BB has been following her story as she approaches his part of the world.

GRAHAM: Jeanne Socrates VE-ZERO-JS (VE0JS) is crossing time zones and setting records. Amateur Radio Newsline caught up with Jeanne back in our report last November as the 76-year old retired mathematics teacher was partways through her solo sail around the world aboard her yacht the S/V Nereida (Nuh-RIDA). Jeanne had left her home in Canada one month earlier to begin her global sail. It's not her first -- she is already the oldest woman to sail solo, nonstop unassisted around the world. When she completes her journey, as she hopes to do this year, that hoped-for homecoming in Victoria will make her the oldest person of either gender to accomplish the journey solo. Back in November, she was north of Ducie Island when Newsline spoke with her on the air with the help of a Skype phone patch. As of the middle of this month, she was past Cape Horn and Cape Agulhas and aiming in the direction of Australia and New Zealand.

Jeanne is keeping in good contact with other hams on the radio - including recent QSOs with some in South Africa and on the West Coast of the United States. She is also uploading posts to her blog, svnereida dot com (svnereida.com/blog).

On her post of Friday the 15th of February she noted she had sailed, not surprisingly, into the next time zone. With luck, at the end of her journey of many months, she will also sail into history.


PAUL/ANCHOR: In the U.S., the Federal Communications Commission's Enforcement Bureau has reminded electronics retailers that as of the 15th of February there are new compliance requirements for devices known as "unintentional radiators." These are defined as devices that transmit RF signals not used for any communications purposes. The agency's announcement puts retailers on notice that it is now enforcing what is known as Supplier's Declaration of Conformity procedures and is also requiring certification.

The FCC notes that devices subject to the Supplier's Declaration include "equipment that does not contain a radio transmitter and contains only digital circuitry — such as computer peripherals, microwave ovens, Industrial, Scientific, and Medical equipment, switching power supplies, LED light bulbs, radio receivers, and TV interface devices.” The agency noted that if equipment contains both types of radiators, the unintentional radiator needs to be authorized under either SDoC or certification and the intentional radiators such as transmitters, require certification.

The FCC has also advised makers of signs containing LED illumination that they need to comply with FCC rules, reminding them that LED sign panels are subject to a Supplier's Declaration of Conformity.


PAUL/ANCHOR: The ham radio community lost two of its longtime members, amateurs whose hard work leaves a lasting legacy. We begin with the story of 'Andy' Anderson as told by Kent Peterson KC-ZERO-DGY.

KENT: In Washington state, Herbert "Andy" Anderson K7GEX has become a Silent Key. Andy was a strong proponent of Latvian amateur radio activity and was present at every World Radiosport Team Championship, attending primarily to coach and encourage the teams who had come from Latvia. A life member of the ARRL, he was credited with having founded the Latvians Worldwide Roundtable Net and was considered the "godfather" of the Latvian Amateur Radio League according to his friend Andy Neimers VA7FJT. Andy Neimers told the ARRL that in the early 1990s, Andy Anderson helped the Latvian league evolve by sending thousands in funding to purchase all sorts of equipment for the league's amateurs. There is even a 2-meter repeater in one Latvian province that bears his name.
He was a veteran of the Vietnam War, having served as a Green Beret after enlisting in the U.S. Army Special Forces. He had come to the U.S. as a political refugee while still a youngster.

Andy Anderson K7GEX died on the 5th of February following a lengthy illness. He was 84.


PAUL/ANCHOR: The national conference of the Wireless Institute of Australia is still months away but if you're among those hoping to present a technical session there, you only have a few days left to submit papers. John Williams VK4JJW tells what you need to do.

JOHN: If you're looking to present on a topic at the Wireless Institute of Australia's National Conference in May, you have until March 1st to submit your abstract. The organising committee has asked that the papers contain 200 words or less, describing what the technical session would cover in the 30 minutes allotted. The technical presentations are scheduled to be held on the 25th of May following the annual general meeting and after lunch. Organisers are also hoping to review two additional papers for a presentation to take place at the Amateur Radio New South Wales field day to be held in Dural on the 26th of May. All abstracts submitted for either event should use a template available on the Abstract/Call for Papers form 2019 available on the WIA website. They should be emailed to papers2019@wia.org.au. Presenter and author details should be included. Presenters who are chosen will be notified by April 1st.


PAUL/ANCHOR: British YLs have a lot of celebrating going on this year and they're looking for some company for an on-air party. Jeremy Boot G4NJH has the details on how to send an RSVP and book your time.

JEREMY: You only turn 40 once in a lifetime and so members of the British Young Ladies Amateur Radio Association, or BYLARA, are inviting YLs to sign up for a year-long party. BYLARA members are marking their 40th anniversary with a special event station and have asked all interested operators to contact BYLARA and also to file the OFW 287 document -- Notice of variation for a special event call sign -- with Ofcom. You can find the document at ofcom dot org dot uk (ofcom.org.uk). Search for it by name.

To participate in the special event, YLs must be a full licence holder or have a partner or husband who has a full call and plans to be present while the YL is on the air. The Ofcom document must be filed at least a month before your planned date of operation. Email the form to spectrum dot licencing at ofcom dot org dot uk (spectrum.licencing@ofcom.org.uk)


PAUL/ANCHOR: Skill and inventiveness in the fields of engineering and science are the hallmarks of the modern maker fairs and there's one coming soon to Cincinnati, Ohio. Jack Prindle AB4WS filed this report for the Amateur News Weekly podcast and we share it here.

JACK: The Cincinnati Mini-Maker Faire has announced the 2019 date. The Faire returns to the Cincinnati Museum Center at the restored Cincinnati Union Terminal for one day only on Saturday April 13 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The OH-KY-IN amateur Radio Society hosted a booth last year and was very successful. if you are interested in volunteering to man the booth please contact Cesi at kd8oob at gmail dot com(kd8oob@gmail.com)

Covering your Amateur Radio News in the Greater Cincinnati Area and the Commonwealth of Kentucky, this is Jack Prindle AB4WS normally in Big Bone Kentucky by tuning in this week from sunny Clearwater Florida.


PAUL/ANCHOR: Imagine the excitement of a receiving signals from the first geostationary amateur radio satellite. Well, there's a ham in South Africa who didn't use his imagination -- just his rig. Jason Daniels VK2LAW tells his story.

JASON: The Qatar (KAT-R) OSCAR 100 transponders on-board the Es'hail (S-HAIL) Two satellite create the first geostationary amateur radio satellite and is covering the Middle East, Europe and Africa and indeed there's one ham in South Africa who is mighty glad for that: Rickus de Lange ZS4A is credited with being the nation's first amateur radio station to monitor QSOs on the OSCAR 100 after his dish received the satellite's signals on the 13th of February, on the eve of its official Feb. 14 inauguration. The satellite became available for amateur use on an experimental basis on the 12th of February.

Rickus told Newsline in an email: [quote] "What an experience it was, eventually running around in the rain at night to quickly put up the Dish on a Tripod and getting it aimed correctly." [endquote] He had received the LNB as a gift from his friend Leon ZED-S-ONE-MM and Leon had converted it to a lower Local Oscillator frequency. Rickus told us [quote] "I started playing with it and searching for the Engineering beacon for 2 weeks but with no luck." He told Newsline that contributing to the lack of initial success was the fact that he was unaware the first dish was an offset-fed one too. But he was encouraged. He said: [quote] "The first signals that I could hear on the WebSDR was the kick in the backside that encouraged me further to put more effort in." [endquote] He switched to a normal DSTV Offset 60cm Dish and from inside his shack, where his laptop was using an SDR dongle, he could see the signals on the waterfall and hear the SSB signals clearly.

That's when he ran outside in the rain and put up the station outside. He said it felt great hearing hams operating out of Europe and surrounding countries instead of just hearing OSCARS flying past. Two days later Rickus and Leon shared another "first" - Leon called him in CW, becoming the first ZS station to transmit over the satellite.

Rickus said [quote] "This is a fantastic Bird that they have put up and this will help a lot of hams to be able to DX on UHF which is otherwise only possible via EME and not so easy to do." [endquote]

We think Rickus speaks for many hams who welcome OSCAR 100 to the sky.


PAUL/ANCHOR: Hams in India spent two days recently preparing for the cyclone they hope will never come. Jim Meachen ZL2BHF shares this report.

JIM: The gathering of hams in the Indian state of Odisha was part Field Day and part amateur radio camp. Members of the Amateur Radio Society of Odisha spent two days on an uninhabited island unreachable by conventional communications and simulated a scenario of natural disaster. The exercise on February 16th and 17th was designed to sharpen the operators' readiness in case of such calamaties as cyclones, which are not uncommon in that region.

The drill did not go unnoticed by public officials. Officials from the Puri district administration visited the island to observe the hams in action. They had a stake in the outcome of the exercise too: During Cyclone Titli in October of last year, Gajapati district was cut-off from the outside world for a few hours but communications stayed intact because of ham radio.

Meanwhile, the hams had a very proud showing by the end of the exercise on Sunday evening. Using solar power and their radios, the eight operators were able to contact 130 hams - many from elsewhere in India but also in Denmark, Russia, Australia, Thailand and Indonesia.


In the World of DX, amateurs in Turkey are using the special call sign TC10GITRAD to mark the 10th anniversary of the radio group GITRAD. They are on the air all year through the 31st of December. The log will be uploaded to eqsl and LoTW regularly. For any mis-copied callsigns, please send an e-mail to TA7AZC. No cards are required. However, if you need a paper QSL card please mail yours directly to TA7AZC and include a stamped self-addressed envelope and money for postage.

Jean, VE2FDJ, is using the call sign 5J0JC from Providencia Island, Colombia, through the 27th of February. Listen on 80/40/20/6 meters for him using SSB. QSL via VE2FDJ, direct or by the Bureau.

Kazu, JK3GAD, will be on the air as MJ0CFW from Jersey between the 15th and 17th of March and especially during the Russian DX Contest on the 16th and 17th of March. In that contest, listen for him using the call sign MJ5Z. QSL via LoTW, M0CFW or via ClubLog's OQRS.


PAUL/ANCHOR: Finally, remembering the great pride the late Bill Pasternak WA6ITF took in talented young amateurs, we open the nomination period once more for Young Ham of the Year. Here's Don Wilbanks AE5DW.

DON: For those of us on the Newsline staff the months of March, April and May are filled with anticipation. March 1st is the day the nominating period for the Young Ham Of the Year award, renamed several years ago as the Bill Pasternak WA6ITF Amateur Radio Newsline Young Ham Of The year Award to honor Newsline's late founder. Quite the mouthful, so we just call it "YHOTY" or Y-Hottie for short.

Bill Pasternak was a fanatic for education and getting kids involved in ham radio. I suppose you could say Bill was into STEM before STEM was cool. STEM, of course, refers to Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. Way back in 1986 a young amateur from Oklahoma, Shawn Allen Wakefield, WK5P, was named our first YHOTY. Since then it has been a 33-year line of one incredible young ham after another, each one more amazing than the one before.

The premise of the Young Ham Of The Year award is simple: Radio amateurs under the age of 18 residing in the United States, its possessions and Canada are eligible. The young radio amateur has to have done something extraordinary with amateur radio to further the state of the art, or in service to the community. Other than that, it's wide open. Past winners have been recognized for running nets during forest fires and tornado outbreaks, training astronauts how to use amateur radio equipment for school contacts, launching the mailing tube that contained an acceptance letter from MIT to over 90,000 feet with a helium balloon, documenting the construction, launch and recovery via a YouTube video, setting up a personal DXpedition to Cypress then writing a QST cover article on the experience, manning a shelter during Hurricane Andrew and keeping everyone safe when the roof blew off. The list of achievements is as varied as the recipients. To say we are humbled by our Young Hams Of The Year is truly an understatement.

So on March 1st we will open nominations again in anticipation of the award ceremony to be held at the Huntsville, AL hamfest on August 18th. The Huntsville Hamfest has been the home of the award since 1993. If you have not attended the Huntsville Hamfest you really are missing out on a great one. Arguably one of the top 5 hamfests in the United States, the venue is truly top notch and the hospitality is off the scale. To find out more about the Huntsville Hamfest please visit their website. It's easy to remember... hamfest.org.

So, you know of a deserving young radio amateur and you want to know more about the nomination process? That's easy as well. Go to our website, arnewsline.org and look for the YHOTY tab. There you'll find all you need to know including a downloadable nominating form. Fill it out and get it back to us before midnight on May 31st.

We are excited to see the nominations come in and believe me, the nomination committee always has their hands full. We would also like to recognize and thank our corporate sponsors for all their assistance. CQ Publishing, Yaesu, Heil Sound and RadioWavz antennas. Of course, our thanks to the Huntsville Hamfest for letting us have a home for the last 26 years. And we would like to thank you, our listeners. Without you we could not have a Young Ham Of The Year award. And of course, Bill Pasternak, WA6ITF. We continue to do our best to follow along in his footsteps and we share his passion for youth in amateur radio. The next generation is waiting in the wings and we are honored to be but the first to welcome them in.

TGIF EDITION: Is it March yet?...I had trouble with the server at GoDaddy that hosts this site. It was a problem on their end and they casually mentioned the servers were old and they were going to call me when they "migrate" the files to the new server. They said I would be charged $100 for the move...WTF....I said let me get this straight, your servers are old and you are replacing them with new hard drives and you want to charge me to move the files to the new server. I was offered half price if I paid now. Looks like I will be shopping for a new host. The greed involved by everyone in business today is staggering...I'm glad I have a hobby and don't have to run around cutting down cactus trees........this procedure might help snoring....

Atmospheric radiation update: Cosmic rays continue to increase

New data released by the Earth to Sky Calculus/Spaceweather.com high-altitude ballooning program show that atmospheric cosmic rays are intensifying for the 4th year in a row--an ironic side-effect of the decaying solar cycle.

The new results are of interest to everyone from astronauts to air travelers.

Get the full story on today's edition of Spaceweather.com

Golden Globe Race: Penalty given for ham radio use

My Sailing reports a sailor in the Golden Globe around the world race has been given a penalty after using amateur radio to ask for weather routing information

The site says:

Third placed Estonian skipper Uku Randmaa has escaped disqualification from the Golden Globe race after breaching the strict rules forbidding outside assistance, but has been handed a 72-hour penalty for asking and receiving weather routing information during radio contact with a Ham radio operator.

A 16-minute recording of the radio communication was received at Race HQ yesterday (19th February). The first five minutes covers a legitimate publicly available weather information, but at -9:15, Randmaa asks: “I have a question…How can I say it… I’m heading 90°. Can I be sure that I can take the wind if I’m sailing east?"

Race Chairman Don McIntyre explained: “This is a retro race with skippers restricted to using a sextant, paper charts and wind-up chronometers just as Sir Robin Knox-Johnston used in the first Sunday Times Golden Globe Race 50 years ago. All digital equipment is banned, including sat phones and GPS. Skippers can only communicate via Single Side Band (SSB) radios and amateur Ham radio net, which the whole world can listen in to if they wish.

Read the full story at

World JOTA-JOTI 2018 Report published

With a goal of increasing JOTA-JOTI participation to three million, what were the numbers for 2018?  But as importantly, how were Scouts engaged in the largest annual Scouting event in the world?

All these questions and more are addressed in the World JOTA-JOTI 2018 Report.

You can find the 2018 report (along with all the previous reports) at

Direct link to PDF

THURSDAY EDITION: Joe- K1JEK had successful surgery yesterday and will be home today and probably will be on his radio this afternoon on 3928...we received about 2 inches of sludge last night, wet and heavy snow.....3860 is a nasty frequency, a spinoff of the nuts on 7200. ....3910 is still alive and well early evenings. Dick has changed his call back to K1DPM again, Warren is alive and well, and Paul is still pounding down skull splitters and appears to be in competition with Warren for creative use of four letter words. This group is not boring.....


3919 FRIENDLY BUNCH UPDATE: Not much happening with this never ending rag chew net which meets 7 days a week from 6-11pm led by leader, Virginian Bobby ( I'm #1 and the proud founder)- KB4ABJ and the frequency enforcer big John- AC8IE from Ohio. You can expect a nightly prayer from a wacko  Canadian named Sam- VE3ZSZ. Please go to QRZ.com and check this lunatic out. ....You will hear Kyle-KE8COQ, with his slow West Virginia whiny drawl, constantly mouth off and calling Bobby over and over. Last night he finally caused enough shit to get told off and warned to shape up or ship out.....You will hear high schooler Connor spend the night with this pack of old men whine about blowing up one radio after another. His latest adventure was blowing up his newly acquired SB200 amplifier......and of course everyone id'ing every ten minutes singing out- "Number 1, W1XXX with the Friendly Bunch" in two part harmony. Although there is supposed to be several net control ops, Bobby and Big John constantly break in to get that all  important number of check ins and how many have a Friendly Bunch number....over and over it goes....the rag chew net with nothing ever talked about....and still like needy little birds, an abundance of hams pleading to get that coveted Friendly Bunch number and be a part of this group. A quite amusing phenomena.  Remember you have to check in after 9pm over 300 times to be considered to receive the hallowed Friendly Bunch official number....Bobby promises that big things are coming!

NASA to provide coverage of SpaceX commercial crew flight test

NASA will provide coverage of the upcoming prelaunch and launch activities for the SpaceX Demo-1 flight test to the International Space Station for the agency’s Commercial Crew Program, which is working with the U.S. aerospace industry to launch astronauts on American rockets and spacecraft from American soil for the first time since 2011.

NASA and SpaceX are targeting 2:48 a.m. EST Saturday, March 2, for the launch of the company’s uncrewed Demo-1 flight, which will be the first time a commercially built and operated American rocket and spacecraft designed for humans will launch to the space station. The launch, as well as other activities leading up to the launch, will air on NASA Television and the agency’s website.

The SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft will launch on a Falcon 9 rocket from historic Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The Crew Dragon is scheduled to dock to the space station at approximately 5:55 a.m. Sunday, March 3.

This will be the first uncrewed flight test of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program and will provide data on the performance of the Falcon 9 rocket, Crew Dragon spacecraft and ground systems, as well as in-orbit, docking and landing operations. 

The flight test also will provide valuable data toward NASA certifying SpaceX’s crew transportation system for carrying astronauts to and from the space station. SpaceX’s Demo-2 test flight, which will fly NASA astronauts to the space station, is targeted to launch in July.

Following each flight, NASA will review performance data to ensure each upcoming mission is as safe as possible. After completion of all test flights, NASA will continue its review of the systems and flight data for certification ahead of the start of regular crewed flights to the space station.

Full Demo-1 coverage is as follows. All times are EST:

Friday, Feb. 22

  • (no earlier than) 6 p.m. – Post-flight readiness review briefing at Kennedy, with the following representatives:
    • William Gerstenmaier, associate administrator, NASA Human Exploration and Operations
    • Kathy Lueders, manager, NASA Commercial Crew Program
    • Kirk Shireman, manager, International Space Station Program
    • Hans Koenigsmann, vice president, Build and Flight Reliability, SpaceX
    • Astronaut Office representative

Thursday, Feb. 28

  • TBD – Pre-launch briefing at Kennedy, with the following representatives:
    • Kathy Lueders, manager, NASA Commercial Crew Program
    • Kirk Shireman, manager, International Space Station Program
    • SpaceX representative
    • Astronaut Office representative

Saturday, March 2

  • 2 a.m. – NASA TV launch coverage begins for the 2:48 a.m. liftoff
  • 5 a.m. – Post-launch news conference at Kennedy, with the following representatives:
    • Steve Stich, NASA launch manager, NASA Commercial Crew Program
    • Kirk Shireman, manager, International Space Station Program
    • SpaceX representative
    • Astronaut Office representative

Sunday, March 3

  • 3:30 a.m. – Rendezvous and docking coverage
  • 8:45 a.m. – Hatch opening coverage
  • 10:30 a.m. – Station crew welcoming ceremony

Friday, March 8

  • 12:15 a.m. – Hatch closing coverage begins
  • 2:30 a.m. – Undocking coverage begins
  • 7:30 a.m. – Deorbit and landing coverage
  • TBD – Post-landing briefing on NASA TV, location TBD, with the following representatives:
    • Steve Stich, deputy manager, NASA Commercial Crew Program
    • International Space Station Program representative
    • SpaceX representative
    • Astronaut Office representative

For more information on event coverage, go to:

ARRL adds JO-97, FO-99, QO-100 to LoTW configuration file

The ARRL has released version 11.7 of the Logbook of the World configuration file adding the ability to confirm QSOs made through JO-97, FO-99, and QO-100 via LoTW.

LoTW users should receive a prompt to update their configuration file when opening recent versions of TQSL. The file can also be downloaded at https://lotw.arrl.org/lotwuser/config.tq6

WEDNESDAY EDITION: I updated the firmware and dsp in my Yaesu FTM400XDR yesterday. A somewhat weird procedure of having to take off the cover and flip a boot switch and then download the new firmware. When the download is complete another procedure for the DSP upgrade, at any rate, it is done. I guess I can buy an expensive Yaesu cable and connect to my computer and get on Wireless X or something now...I don't as I have a digital hotspot in the house for DMR and Fusion communication....

Stevenage shed radio DJ visits Radio Caroline

A shed-based DJ, whose interest in radio was sparked by pirate station Radio Caroline, has had his "dream come true" by visiting the ship it broadcasts from.

Deke Duncan, 73, was given his own one-hour special on BBC local radio last year after broadcasting to just his wife for more than 40 years.

The station took him to the ship off the coast of Essex at the weekend.

"This is the climax of my life," he said during the visit.

Mr Duncan started playing records from his back garden in Stevenage, Hertfordshire, in 1974 and set up Radio 77 - named after a job-lot of second hand jingles bought from a US station of the same name.

But with no licence, the station could only be beamed through a speaker in his living room to wife Teresa.

He presented non-stop weekend slots on the station with friends, broadcasting from - and to - 57 Gonville Crescent.

Red the full BBC News story

500 years of foundation of Panama City

Dear fellow ham,

The special callsign H31A is being used to commemorate 500 years of the foundation of Panama City, PANAMA. The station will be available until August 15th  2019.

We will be operating on 80 m to 10 m specially in digital modes (RTTY, PSK31 and FT8) and some SSB.   

This Sunday, February 24 from 14:00 to 22:00 UTC we will be operating on a Field Day using the special callsign H31A. We will operate from 40m to 10m on phone and FT8.

ITU WRC-19 Conference Prep Meeting Geneva

ARRL report the second Conference Preparatory Meeting (CPM) in advance of World Radio Communication Conference 2019 (WRC-19) this fall got under way on February 18 at International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Headquarters in Geneva

Delegates from around the world are attending.

This CPM will prepare a consolidated report that will support of the work of WRC-19, based on contributions from various administrations, study groups, and other sources concerning the regulatory, technical, operational, and procedural matters, and the inclusion of reconciled differences or of differing views and their justification.

Agenda items affecting Amateur Radio include the harmonization of the 50-MHz amateur allocation, 5G in the 47-GHz band (Amateur Radio has an allocation at 47.0 – 47.2 GHz in the US) and elsewhere, and studies concerning Wireless Power Transmission (WPT) for electric vehicles to assess the impact of WPT for electric vehicles on radiocommunication services and to study suitable harmonized frequency ranges which would minimize the impact on radiocommunication services from WPT for electrical vehicles.

Source ARRL

New Plan Aligns ARES with the Needs of Served Agencies

The new ARES Plan adopted by the ARRL Board of Directors at its Annual Meeting in January represents an effort to provide ARES with a clearly defined mission, goals, and objectives; specific training requirements, and a system for consistent reporting and record-keeping. The Board’s Public Service Enhancement Working Group (PSEWG) spent more than 3 years crafting the ARES Plan which, ARRL officials believe, provides a much-needed update of the program’s role in public service and emergency preparedness in the 21st century. Concerns focused on bringing ARES into alignment with the National Incident Management System (NIMS) and Incident Command System (ICS), and creating more consistent and standardized ARES training requirements. Given dramatic changes and upgrades in national, regional, and local emergency and disaster response organizations, ARRL faced a major challenge, said ARRL Great Lakes Division Director Dale Williams, WA8EFK, who chaired the PSEWG.

“If we didn’t address these issues, such as training standards and organizational management, ARES faced the very real possibility that it would no longer be viewed as a valid and valuable partner in emergency and disaster relief situations,” Williams said.

With input from ARES members and a peer review team, and the assistance of emergency response officials with some partner organizations, the PSEWG came up with a plan that provides guidelines to ensure that ARES remains a service of organized, trained, qualified, and credentialed Amateur Radio volunteers who can provide public service partners with radio communication expertise, capability, and capacity, Williams added.

A drafted ARES Plan was circulated among ARRL Section Managers (SMs) and Section Emergency Coordinators (ECs) to gather feedback. During the comment period from August through October 2018, the PSEWG heard from 55 ARRL Sections, representing 40 states — more than 125 pages of feedback in all. The PSEWG expressed appreciation to all who submitted comments and ideas.

The PSEWG reviewed every comment and suggestion, identifying about a dozen key items commonly cited by those in the Field Organization to improve the plan.

Based on input from ARES participants, the training requirements in the final ARES Plan consist of the free FEMA Professional Development Series. The series comprises these independent study (IS) courses: 120.c, 230.d, 235.c, 240.d, 241.b, 242.b, and 244.b (as they may be amended), as well as the ARRL’s EC-001 and EC-016 emergency communication courses. As part of adopting the ARES Plan, the ARRL Board approved a proposal to make the ARRL EC courses free for ARES members.

The plan highlights some additional training programs that ARES participants are encouraged to consider taking, but that are not required, such as AUXCOMM and training courses like ICS-300 and ICS-400.

The ARES Plan outlines a three-tiered membership structure based on increased responsibility levels and accompanying training requirements. Although the tiers are not a required path, they serve to define three distinct ways to participate in the ARES program; it’s up to the participant to determine his or her level of involvement.

The ARES Plan points out that public service events such as parades and marathons are within the realm of ARES activity and are, in fact, a key part of it, because such events are an integral part of effective training.

In recognizing the local and regional nature of emergency communication needs in disaster response activations, the Plan notes that training requirements are ultimately the responsibility of the Section Manager, with each SM approving training for local ARES teams, as local conditions and needs dictate.

The ARES Plan also highlights the relationship between ARES and the National Traffic System (NTS). The PSEWG indicated that it will continue moving forward with efforts to find ways to refine and strengthen that relationship.

While the intent of the ARES Plan is to align the ARES organizational structure with the NIMS and ICS systems, Williams noted that, within the ARES structure, the Emergency Coordinator (EC) will continue to lead the ARES team locally during an incident, while the District and Section Emergency Coordinators will continue to serve as resources and support for the EC. (The emergency preparedness staff at ARRL is in the process of updating the EC manual.) The ARES Plan stresses that ARES participants are not first responders, and it encourages ARES leaders to develop and grow their group’s partnerships with state emergency management agencies and officials. Williams said the adoption of the ARES Plan is not the end of this process.

“ARES cannot remain stagnant only to be updated once every few generations,” he said. “The ARES Plan, and the ARES program, must be able to evolve.” Williams added that the ARRL Headquarters emergency preparedness staff will review the program annually to ensure its continued relevance.    

TUESDAY EDITION: It looks like I need to do a little snow removal in the driveway, 3-4 inches of powdery stuff....

Amateur Radio is Aboard during Attempt to Become Oldest Circumnavigator

Jeanne Socrates, VE0JS/KC2IOV, is used to solitude. The lone 76-year-old yachtswoman passed the southern tip of Africa — some 300 miles to the north — on Valentine’s Day as she forged on toward Australia and New Zealand in her 38-foot sailing vessel Nereida. While underway, Socrates keeps in touch with a community of friends via Amateur Radio — although she had to yield to the ARRL International DX CW activity over the weekend — and she’s sticking to a schedule of 7.160 MHz at 0230 UTC daily. Socrates reported making contact with some ham radio friends on the US west coast on February 17. She’s been blogging her progress.

The retired math teacher and UK native also is no stranger to circumnavigating the globe, having already become the oldest woman to do complete a solo, non-stop, unassisted round-the-world voyage. Ham radio served as her link to terra firm during her earlier adventures. Since 2013, she’s made two additional attempts to become the oldest person to circumnavigate Earth, the goal she’s now attempting to achieve. She departed Vancouver, British Columbia, last October.

Socrates is working around a damaged mainsail. “We seem to be having many more days of light wind giving slow speed, than stronger wind giving good speed — need a wind of well over 15 knots and, preferably, for us to be headed downwind. Any upwind travel immediately gives poor boat speed — that’s when the damaged mainsail is badly missed,” she recounted in a recent blog entry. She’s been using the vessel’s trisail — typically used for high-wind conditions — because the Nereida’s mainsail repair was showing signs that it might not hold up in the wind. Socrates reports that she will continue to work on the mainsail as time permits. — Thanks to Southgate Amateur Radio News for some information 

XX9D in Macau: And You Think Your Noise Problem is Bad

The group that’s been activating Macau as XX9D for the past week or so reports its biggest challenge is not so much managing the pileups but hearing the pileups in the first place due to high noise levels. Nonetheless, the group has managed some 18,000 contacts on 160 through 6 meters, and the operators credit FT8 with making many of those possible.

“All team members are a little bit disappointed about the high noise level here on all bands,” the XX9D team reported on February 18. Levels are mostly around S-7 – 9. It seems that this is man-made noise, which is about 10 dB stronger between 5 PM and 7 AM. You might imagine what problems we have to identify call signs under these lousy circumstances, which we are not able to solve. So, we have to lower our expectations.”

The XX9D team also echoed the sentiments of other DXpeditioners regarding the behavior of those trying to work the 93rd most-wanted DXCC entity (according to Club Log).

“We got fair reports from all parts of the world,” the XX9D group said in an update on its website. “But it must be hard for the callers to break through the noise wall on our side. Many callers wonder that they don’t through even with a kW. But when 90 % of all callers transmit exactly 1 kHz up on CW, it is impossible for us to read anything. Bad comments don’t help. It’s more a question of bad practice.”

The limited-space antennas are installed above the eighth story of a resort hotel, so the noise level was no real surprise, although it’s far worse than during the 2014 XX9D DXpedition. On 160, 80, and 40 meters, XX9D is using wire verticals with elevated radials. The 30-meter antenna is a delta loop, and on 20 – 10 meters, the antenna is a wire beam. No receive antennas are possible.

Conditions at or near the low point of the current sunspot cycle aren’t helping either. “We are working hard to get as many as possible callers in the log. Because of the lousy conditions we work much more in FT8,” the 15-person mostly German team said.

The XX9D operators predict that activating Macau on the lower bands will be an even greater challenge in the future.

On 160, the operators may only transmit from 1,800 to 1,825 kHz, so they tried FT8 on 1,815 kHz with stations asked to transmit higher in the band (1,840/1,908 kHz). “From time to time we have our CQ beacon on 50.105 kHz on CW or 50.313 kHz on FT8 active and asks for listener reports (no log inquiries).

The XX9D operation from Grand Colane Resort is scheduled to continue until February 26. This operation is being called XX9D the Second. The same operators also activated the resort as XX9D in February of 2017.

Antarctic Activity Week is Under Way

Antarctic Activity Week (AAW) 2019 is under way until February 24, with special call signs on the air. The goal of the event is to promote interest in Antarctica, where many countries have established research facilities.

Some of the call signs to listen for are: Australia, VK2ANT; Austria, OE16AAW, OE88WAP, OE89ANT, and OE90AAW; Belgium, OR16ANT; France, TM16AAW, TM16WAP, and TM1ANT; Italy, II2ANT, II5ANT, IO5SP, IR18AAW, IR1ANT, IR4ANT, and IV3BOVE; The Netherlands, PA6ANT and PF19ANT; Poland, SP0ANT; Spain, AO1WAP, Ukraine, EM16UAP, and US, K4A, K4K, and KB0ANT. — Thanks to The Daily DX

Federal Government responds to The Left's EMC question

The German political party The Left (Die Linke) raised the issue of the Electromagnetic pollution caused by consumer devices such as switched-mode PSU's and LED lighting

A Google translation on a DARC report reads:

In the printed matter 19/7649, the Federal Government has published the answer to the question from the group Die Linke [The Left] on the subject of "Exposure of the electromagnetic environment to electrical equipment". The answer is available as a PDF file under the following link:

The DARC previously reported in its media on the Inquiry, on the DARC portal at
https://www.darc.de/nachrichten/meldungen/archiv-details/news/fraktion-die-linke-stellt-neue- small-request-to-emc themes/

Among other things, the Federal Government addresses the question of which standards are used as the basis for the assessment of noise levels in the electromagnetic environment for decisions of proportionality in accordance with § 27 (3) EMVG.

Ham radio operators put their hobby to the test

Members of the Amateur Radio Society of Odisha got together at an uninhabited island within the Chilika lake to test their operational skill and technology to help the public during natural calamities such as cyclonic storms

The Hindu newspaper reports:

The team had chosen this island as it is inaccessible by conventional telecommunication network.

During their two-day camp at the island that ended on Sunday evening, eight licensed private HAM radio operators of Odisha experimented transmission of messages to the outside world through radio signals.

It was an attempt to simulate real-life situation during any natural calamity when all conventional modes of communication cease to exist.
“To simulate such a situation, we remained cut-off from the outside world for two days and used solar power to operate our HAM radios. A bamboo pole was used as an antenna tower,” said Gurudatta Panda, one of the participants.

Amateur radio operators can link up with other HAM enthusiasts through ‘short wave’ radio frequency.

During the event, these operators, despite their lack of infrastructure, managed to contact around 130 Amateur radio operators around the world.

Around 90 of these were from different parts of India while others were from countries including Denmark, Russia, Indonesia, Thailand and Australia.

On Sunday morning they made contacts with HAM enthusiasts of neighbouring countries except Pakistan.

According to ARSO members, the importance of HAM radios during natural calamities has not diminished in this era of advanced communication.

According to them, during the Titli cyclone, Gajapati district was completely cut-off from the outside world for a few hours. During that time HAM radio with the Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force became the main means of communication of the district administration with the outside world.

Read the full story at

MONDAY EDITION: Snowing here on Cape Ann at 6AM with about 2 inches of fluff on the steps...A good time was had by K1JEK and W1GWU down at the Marlboro Hamfest on Saturday morning......I made the  mistake of listening to the new hotspot of bad ham ops on 3860 last night. What a pack of nitwits, some from the 7200 shit show. It amazes me the amount of hams who jam and swear obscenities at each other and actually have a following of like minded idiots. Grown men (?) have spent thousands of dollars to hide behind a microphone and play tough guy and threaten each other. These are the guys who would never dare show up at a hamfest and identify themselves...Ham Radio adventures....

 In Florida, Bob-KC1BBU was mobile hamming and fishing and meanwhile M.ike- N1XW enjoyed an air event at Alton Bay, NH on Sunday...planes landing on the lake.....

The only radio ham in Taiwan for 25 years

Tim Chen BV2A was famous among amateur radio enthusiasts as the only person allowed to operate in Taiwan until 1985, when the government started issuing more licenses

The Tapei Times reports:

Until 1985, Taiwan’s amateur (ham) radio scene consisted of one person: Tim Chen ( 陳實忻 ), who held the country’s only license due to Martial Law era restrictions. According to a Liberty Times (the sister newspaper of the Taipei Times) report, this resulted in the unusual situation where Taiwan Garrison Command had to establish a set of amateur radio regulations just for him.

Since there was nobody else in Taiwan to talk to, Chen connected with people around the world, using Morse code at first via his station BV2A, and gaining voice communication capabilities in 1974 through BV2B. Chen was strictly forbidden to speak with anyone in China or the Soviet Union, but he enjoyed much popularity as the world’s only BV (Taiwan’s country code) station operator — so much so that US senator and fellow ham enthusiast Barry Goldwater K7UGA specifically requested to tour Chen’s two stations when he visited Taiwan in 1986.

Read the full Taipei Times story at

Build your own Space Weather dashboard

Dear HAM friend

For the Ham Radio community I wrote an article on how to build your own Space Weather Dashboard with NOAA data. The article is published at http://www.pa2p.nl/noaa

Title:                   Build your own Space Weather dashboard
Author:                Jan, PA2P
Subject:               The article is about how to design your own gauges and charts with Space Weather data from NOAA for your own website, instead of using the existing dashboards.
Date:                  Published February 17th, 2019
Link:                   http://www.pa2p.nl/noaa

FCC: Supplier’s Declaration of Conformity Procedures are Now in Effect

The FCC is reminding electronic device retailers that Supplier’s Declaration of Conformity (SDoC) procedures are now in effect and being enforced. In an FCC Enforcement Advisory released February 15, the FCC Enforcement Bureau (EB) pointed out that marketers of RF devices may be subject to new compliance requirements provided in the SDoC procedures.

“In general, a device subject to SDoC is one that does not purposely transmit an RF signal for communications purposes, i.e., it does not send voice and/or data to a wireless receiver,” the Advisory said. Such devices are known as “unintentional radiators,” and most devices subject to SDoC are described in Sections 15.101(1) and 18.203 of the FCC rules.

Two separate procedures are in place to address equipment authorization of RF devices — SDoC and Certification. In July of 2017, the FCC amended some rules regarding the authorization of RF equipment, and those changes became effective in November of that year, with a 1-year transition period to phase out two equipment authorization procedures — Verification and Declaration of Conformity — and replace them with SDoC. The transition period ended on November 2, 2018.

According to the FCC Office of Engineering and Technology (OET), the list of devices subject to SDoC covers “equipment that does not contain a radio transmitter and contains only digital circuitry — such as computer peripherals, microwave ovens, ISM [Industrial Scientific Medical] equipment, switching power supplies, LED light bulbs, radio receivers, and TV interface devices.” The OET said for equipment that contains both unintentional radiators and intentional radiators, the unintentional radiator portion generally may be authorized under either SDoC or certification, while intentional radiators such as radio transmitters, contained in the equipment are typically required to be certified. The OET notes, “Some unintentional radiators do require certification, such as scanning receivers, radar detectors, and access broadband over power line (Access BPL) equipment.”


New England Hams you might run across 75 meters.........

K1TP- Jon....Editor of As The World Turns....
W1GEK- Big Mike....Nearfest Cook, big motor home, electronics software engineer ...
AA1SB- Neil...Living large traveling the country with his girlfriend...loves CW
N1YX- Igor....peddles quality Russian keys, software engineer
K1BGH...Art.....Restores cars and radio gear, nice fella...
N1XW.....Mike-easy going, Harley riding kind of guy!
K1JEK-Joe...Easy going, can be found at most ham flea market ...Cobra Antenna builder..
KA1GJU- Kriss- Tower climbing pilot who cooks on the side at Hosstrader's...
W1GWU-Bob....one of the Hosstrader's original organizers, 75 meter regular, Tech Wizard!!!
K1PV- Roger....75 meter regular, easy going guy...
W1XER...Scott....easy going guy, loves to split cordwood and hunt...
WS1D- Warren- "Windy" - Bullnet
KB1VX- Barry- the picture says it all, he loves food!
KC1BBU- Bob....the Mud Duck from the Cape Cod Canal, making a lot of noise.
W1STS- Scott...philosopher, hat
KB1JXU- Matthew...75 meter regular...our token liberal Democrat out of VT

KA1BXB-Don....75 meter Regular......residing on the Cape of Cod, flying planes and playing radio
KMIG-Rick....75 Meter Regular....teaches the future of mankind, it's scary!
K1PEK-Steve..Founder of Davis-RF....my best friend from high school 

K9AEN-John...Easy going ham found at all the ham fests
K1BXI- John.........Dr. Linux....fine amateur radio op ....wealth of experience...
K1BQT.....Rick....very talented ham, loves his politics, has designed gear for MFJ...
W1KQ- Jim-  Retired
Air Force Controller...told quite a few pilots where to go!
N1OOL-Jeff- The 3936 master plumber and ragchewer...
K1BRS-Bruce- Computer Tech of 3936...multi talented kidney stone passing ham...
K1BGH- Arthur, Cape Cod, construction company/ice cream shop, hard working man....
W1VAK- Ed, Cape Cod, lots of experience in all areas, once was a Jacques Cousteus body guard....
KD1ZY- Warren....3910 regular with WIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIDE signal
N1YSU- Bob,  easy going, kind of like Mr. Rogers until politics are brought up then watch out...
K1BNH- Bill- Used to work for a bottled gas company-we think he has been around nitrous oxide to long .

Silent KeyVA2GJB- Graham...one of the good 14313 guys back in the day.
Silent Key K1BHV- David...PITA
Silent Key W1JSH- Mort...Air Force man
Silent Key K1MAN--Glen....PITA
Silent KeyKB1CJG-"Cobby"- Low key gent can be found on many of the 75 meter nets.........
Silent KeyWB1AAZ- Mike, Antrim, NH, auto parts truck driver-retired

Silent KeyWB1DVD- Gil....Gilly..Gilmore.....easy going, computer parts selling, New England Ham..
Silent Key W1OKQ- Jack....3936 Wheeling and Dealing......keeping the boys on there toes....
Silent Key W1TCS- Terry....75 meter regular, wealth of electronic knowledge...
Silent Key WIPNR- Mack....DXCC Master, worked them all!.. 3864 regular for many years...
Silent Key
WILIM- Hu....SK at 92... 3864 regular for many years...
Silent Key N1SIE- Dave....Loves to fly
Silent Key:
N1WBD- Big Bob- Tallest ham, at 6'10", of the 3864 group
Silent Key: W1FSK-Steve....Navy Pilot, HRO Salesman, has owned every radio ever built!
Silent Key: W4NTI-Vietnam Dan....far from easy going cw and ssb op on 14275/313
Silent Key:K1FUB-Bill- Loved ham radio....